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The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating

The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating

“Exquisite.” — The Huffington Post

“Brilliant.”—The New York Review of Books

“How interesting can a snail be? Captivating, as it turns out. [Bailey] is a marvelous writer, and the marriage of science and poetic mysticism that characterizes this small volume is magical.” —Star Tribune

• John Burroughs Medal Award
• William Saroyan Prize for Nonfiction

Elisabeth Tova Bailey tells the inspiring and intimate story of her year-long encounter with a Neohelix albolabris—a common forest snail.
While an illness keeps her bedridden, Bailey watches as the snail takes up
residence on her nightstand. Intrigued by its molluscan anatomy, cryptic defenses, clear decision making ability, hydraulic locomotion, and mysterious courtship activities, Bailey becomes an astute and amused observer. The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating is a remarkable journey of survival and resilience, showing us how a small part of the natural world illuminates our own human existence.

Excerpt from Chapter 2: Discovery

“Each evening the snail awoke and with astonishing poise moved gracefully to the rim of the pot and peered over, surveying the strange country that lay ahead. Pondering its circumstance with a regal air, as if from the turret of a castle, it waved its tentacles first this way and then that, as though responding to a distant melody.”

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READ the opening chapters of the book (6.7MB)

Wild Snail Screen Saver

The photo on the right is of a forest snail (Genus Neohelix). The image is a still from the book trailer. If you would like to use it as a screen saver, click on the photo to see the full-size version, then right-click (or Control-click on Mac) and select “Save linked file.”